Great find by Camera Viscera, the photo accompanies a June 1986 Los Angeles Times article about the home video boom, specifically the struggles of “independent video specialty stores” against “video superstores” and non-specialty stores. Here are some choice quotes:
About 30% of the nation’s TV-watching households now own videocassette recorders…
The average wholesale value of a VCR is about $390, contrasted with about $830 in 1981…
The price breakthrough may have been the wildly successful release last Christmas of the “Beverly Hills Cop” videocassette at $29.95 by Paramount Home Video, the industry leader in price-cutting since 1982. In comparison, RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video released the “Ghostbusters” videotape at $79.95 at about the same time…
One of the marketing consultants quoted in the article says that the mom and pop video shops aren’t likely “to capsize like little sailboats in a storm,” but that’s exactly what happened. The one I worked at opened in 1984/1985 and closed in 1987/1988. The Wherehouse is cited as “the largest renter of video movies in the nation,” but that wouldn’t be the case for much longer. On August 25, 1986, the first Blockbuster franchise store opened in Marietta, Georgia.
Here are the videos I spot in the photo above (help if you can):
First row: Alien (thanks, David Augustyn), Android, Barbarella, The Beastmaster, The Black Hole (thanks, David Augustyn), The Blade Master (thanks, doerrhb), Bladerunner, A Boy and His Dog (thanks, Ricky Zhero), Brainstorm, Clash of the Titans, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Conan the Barbarian
Second row: D.A.R.Y.L., Defcon 4, Demon Seed, Dragonslayer, Dune, Explorers, Flash Gordon (thanks, Ricky Zhero), Iceman, Ice Pirates, Krull
Third row: The Neverending Story, Night of the Comet, The Philadelphia Experiment, Red Sonja, Runaway, Spacehunter, Star Trek II, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek III (x2), Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back (x2)
Fourth row: THX 1138, Timerider, Tron, 2001: A Space Odyssey, ?, ?, ?, ?, Westworld (x2)
More video stores here.